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Pre-K: Voting, Van Gogh, Vision and Volcanoes

"Vv" week was a bit of both review and of introducing some new concepts. While our main "Vv" focus was the artist Vincent Van Gogh and his work, which permeated a lot of our week's activities, children also continued to practice number recognition and spatial awareness, while immensely enjoying an introduction to rhyming.

Language and Literacy

In honor of Election Day, Dramatic Play was a voting booth for the first few days of our week, and children filled out their very first ballots! We have already used our sign-in rocks to vote a few times this year.

For the first time this week we asked children to try some “warm-up work.” We presented them with a variety of smooth stones engraved with shapes that you might find in lots of letters (swirls, spirals, zig zags, etc.). They traced the shapes with their writing pointer fingers and then found the similar shape on the sheet in front of them. Using the writing implement of their choice, they, then, traced that line and repeated the process at least 3 more times. Our goal is just that they begin to become more familiar with the shapes they will be making as they begin to write more and consistently move their marker/pen/pencil/crayon from right to left as they do.

We also introduced rhyming this week, much to the hysteria of the class; they love coming up with silly rhymes, especially when they can make up nonsense words that they work into our discussions. The act of rhyming is a way to encourage the class to start focusing, not only on the initial sound of words, but also on the ending - another crucial building block to reading.

Math and Science

Although many children in Pre-K are already eager to practice number recognition from 11-20, we are first encouraging them to demonstrate complete comfort with 1-10. This includes manipulating out-of-order numbers into the proper sequence, counting on, and reliable counting using manipulatives to encourage 1:1 correspondence and simple number recognition without the use of a number line. This week, we again asked children to use links to create chains of numbers. We also gave them 2-D pictures of towers, created with cups that were numbered 1-6 in a variety of orders. In pairs, they built those towers using the 3-D cups, which challenged them to practice both number recognition and spatial sense. Our group work on Thursday incorporated representing numbers 1-15, using 2 different kinds of manipulatives, and the class did so well!

Melissa from Puddlestompers visited us again on Monday, and we talked about nocturnal animals and insects as well as predators and prey. Here is the clue that Melissa shared with the class to determine whether an animal is a predator or prey: “Eyes in front, I hunt. Eyes on the side, I hide.” Who knew?

Martine’s Science Friday was around "Vvision". First, she explained how the eye worked and introduced the words “cornea” and “retina,” and then the class learned about the communication between the eye and the brain to translate information. Earlier in the week, children discussed volcanoes and their process of eruption and experimented with various volumes of water. Finally, in honor of National STEM/STEAM Day, Martine brought out lots of supplies, from tape to pipe cleaners and small cups, that, when added to the funky cardboard that Connor brought in, prompted a massive building and construction effort.


Our exploration of Van Gogh started with reading the book Vincent’s Colors, which includes excerpts of his letters to his brother Theo. We introduced some of the colors he loved and children painted throughout the week with them. We talked about how you can really see the paint strokes in his work, and how you could feel how thick his paint was on the canvas if you were ever allowed to touch one of his paintings. One day, children used the same colors, but they used forks instead of paintbrushes in order to get a feel for those thick brushstrokes. Martine added glitter on another day to echo his Starry Night! At the end of the week, Pre-K made its own vase of Sunflowers with coffee filters, tiny brushes, and brown, yellow and gold watercolor. You can see the vase hanging in the Bowen hallway next week.

Dramatic Play was transformed into a Vet’s Office this week after voting was over, and we think that most (if not all) of the class spent some time there caring for furry friends.

Creative Movement was inside because of the drop in temperature on Friday! Please make sure that your child has extra layers as well as hats and gloves in their cubbies in case we are really in for The Big Chill.

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me over the past few days to talk about your outstanding children. They are totally rocking Pre-K, and we are so grateful that you’ve shared them with us.

Have a great long weekend, and we will see you on Tuesday.

Emily and Martine

Questions to ask your child:

  • Can you name 3 words that start with Vv?

  • What rhymes with vet? Vest? (Nonsense words count!)

  • What did Randy Riley use to hit the fireball?

  • What colors did Van Gogh like to use?

  • Do your eyes see right-side-up or upside-down?

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